Saturday, September 5, 2015

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Vaccinations vs. Immunity, Managing Medication and more ...

More Veterinarians Are Focusing Less on Vaccines
by Dr. Jennifer Coates/petMD

Many veterinarians are starting to de-emphasize vaccination and focus more on what’s really important: assuring that their patients are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.

There is an important difference between vaccination and protection from disease. It's called immunity. We don't need our dogs vaccinated year after year after year. We need them immune. It seems more veterinarians are getting on board and are willing to work with antibody titers.

We've been using titer testing for a few years now. I want my dogs protected but I don't want to keep dosing them with antigens and chemicals when they don't need it.

Read Dr. Coates' thoughts.


Hypercalcemia (High Calcium Levels) in Dogs
Dr. Christopher G. Byers, DVM

Only once Jasmine had elevated calcium levels on her blood panel. Fortunately, it was just an anomaly of that particular draw and not a reflection of her actual calcium levels. It did get me quite worried for a while there, though.

Blood calcium is essential for a number of important functions such as blood clotting, hormonal secretion, nerve conduction, muscle contraction ... The body works really hard on keeping blood calcium levels optimal. When the levels are out of normal range, something is very wrong.

The most common cause of high blood calcium is cancer. Doesn't get any more serious than that, does it? Other conditions that cause hypercalcemia include hyperparathyroidism, Addison's disease, kidney disease, excess vitamin D, bone destruction, fungal infections and dehydration.

Don't miss this great, comprehensive article on hypercalcemia in dogs.


Ten Tips for Managing Your Senior Pet’s Medications
by Dr. Nancy Kay, DVM/Spot Speaks

At one time, Jasmine was getting 13 pills in the morning and 15 pills in the evening. Somehow we did manage to keep tract of everything; hubby had it all figured out how many yellow, orange, green, round, oval, large, small ... shaped pills to give. He was the one who had to do the pillination because Jasmine would not be fooled by any method of hiding them and they needed to get shoved down her throat. You see, hubby does the dirty jobs, such as pillination, I do the happy jobs, such as cleaning up poop or vomit. I hate doing things the dogs hate. I'll do it if I have to but if I can delegate, I will.

Hubby was shoving the pills down Jasmine's throat while I kept track of what each of them was for, what to watch for, whether we needed a refill, and all that good stuff.

Sometimes it can be quite a handful to stay on top of all these things.

Check out Dr. Kay's great suggestions on managing your senior (or sick) dog's medications.


5 Reasons Your Dog is Extremely Hungry
by petMD

We typically had the opposite problem--a dog who did not want to eat. With Jasmine, we had appetite issues since she was little. When she had her neck problems, though, and was put on steroids, she became insatiable. Food was the only thing on her mind, all she wanted to do was eat. It was pretty difficult trying to satisfy her craving without having her put on any extra weight. I managed that by increasing water content and vegetable content in her food and treats.

Normally, dogs love to eat and often will eat as long as there is something available. When your dog becomes insatiable, though, it's time to see a vet. Every change in your dog's behavior and habits warrants a vet check-up.

Things that can make your dog abnormally hungry include diabetes, conditions that result in poor nutrient digestion and absorption (such as EPI), intestinal cancer, hyperthyroidism, Cushing's disease or some medications, such as steroids.


6 Places Ticks May Hide on Your Pet
by petMD

Checking for ticks is an important part of grooming and wellness routine. The sooner is a tick removed, the lesser chance of your dog getting any infections from it.

But do you know that they can hide quite cleverly? Some of their favorite places to hide are under the collar, under the tail, between the toes, inside the groin area, under the front legs, and elbows.

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